Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

James Wines papers and SITE architectural records, 1970-2017

Summary Information

Abstract

James Wines (1932–) is an artist, architect and professor, best known for his interdisciplinary art and architectural practice and work leading the firm S.I.T.E. (Sculpture In The Environment) which he co-founded with Alison Sky in 1970. This collection documents the projects and activities of SITE, with material dating from the early 1970s to 2017 (bulk 1990s). The collection also includes a small selection of James Wines' papers.

At a Glance

Bib ID 14649676 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Wines, James, 1932- ; SITE, Inc. ; Sky, Alison
Title James Wines papers and SITE architectural records, 1970-2017
Physical Description 82 Linear Feet; 60 rolls
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

Arrangement

Description

Content Description

This collection documents the projects and activities of SITE, an architecture and environmental design firm co-founded in 1970 by James Wines and Alison Sky, with material dating from the early 1970s to 2017 (bulk 1990s). The collection is composed primarily of documents produced by James Wines for SITE and also includes a small selection of James Wines' professional papers. The SITE records include project files, drawings and sketches, photographic material, including a significant portion of SITE's slide collection, and marketing, exhibition and office records. Many of the project files document SITE's Green Architecture phase of the 1990s and more recent projects, including lesser known commercial work, such as restaurants and coffee shops. Much of this material relates to projects which have not been widely published, and reveals the breadth of the firm's practice beyond the major projects for which they are known. Many of the photographs and slides document the construction of SITE's experimental projects from the 1970s and 1980s. James Wines' papers include writings, lectures, research notes, limited correspondence, business plans, grant proposals, and documents related to publications, exhibitions, product design, and education projects.

The acquisition of this collection was entirely acquired from the SITE office in Manhattan, where the firm was based. Much of the physical and intellectual arrangement of the collection is retained from the organization of materials found in the office. For example, Series II: Professional Papers was housed in the personal office of Wines within the SITE office. Though most of this series reflects the academic work of James Wines as an individual, some of the materials reflect internal division of labor within the firm. For this reason, there are some project files housed with this series that correspond to documents in Series I: Project Files.

It is also notable that the collection represents James Wines' contribution to the collective architecture labor of SITE, meaning that project files are typically incomplete, due to the collaborative nature of their production.

  • Series I: S.I.T.E. Projects

    Files are categorized by project types (urban, commercial, residential, exposition, institutional, product, RFQ) and then listed in chronological order. These records are composed of mixed media documents. These records consist of printed materials that do not include sketches, trace paper or other drawn working materials. Printed papers, including project descriptions and correspondences are housed in boxes while drawn materials (on trace paper, photocopy paper and watercolor paper) are housed in oversized containers. This is due primarily to the size of the documents and not a separation of the materials in the original records, which have been reordered for research and cataloging purposes.

    The two exceptions to the organization noted above are found in subseries 1 and 7. Subseries 1: Urban is categorized by geography, with projects located in the United States followed by International projects. Within these sub categorizations, the projects are listed chronologically. Subseries 7: RFQ includes requests for information and project proposals that were not pursued by the firm or were not accepted. Though there are some overlaps with Subseries 1 - 6, these documents and folders were filed separated by James Wines within the S.I.T.E. studio and have therefore been kept separate.

    In addition to the primary project files in this series, there are approximately 17 rolled tubes (unprocessed) that contain additional associated materials.

  • Series II: Professional Papers

    Series II includes records that were stored in the individual office James Wines at the S.I.T.E. studio office. This series contains transcripts, correspondences and drafts for James's academic work, which includes lectures, conferences and publications. This collection also includes materials related to Wines' teaching. The materials are arranged into 7 subseries which are roughly categorized by type of work: Subseries 1: Academic Administration, Subseries 2: Lectures, Subseries 3: Conferences, Subseries 4: Publication, Subseries 5: Essays, Subseries 6: Correspondence, Subseries 7: Project Press Releases & Reports. Though some of the subseries reflect original order, such as Subseries 1: Academic Administration and Subseries 6: Correspondence, most of the work was arranged post-acquisition. As noted in the collection summary, materials related to project files that are housed in this series are done so to preserve the original order in which the documents were kept at the time of the collection's acquisition.

  • Series III: S.I.T.E. Office Files (7 boxes, unprocessed)

    This collection of records includes internal firm documentation, such as firm organization and operation charts, schedules and correspondences.

  • Series IV: Marketing Files (15 boxes, unprocessed)

    This series consists of paper records related to project marketing and includes documents such as press releases, project schedules and budgets. This series related heavily to the materials in Series I: Project Files. Whereas the material represented in Series I: Project Files are primarily design related, the documents in this series are administrative in nature.

  • Series V: Photographs (13 boxes, unprocessed)

    This series consists of photographs printed on photo paper and film negatives. The images from this series are research and site photos for SITE projects. There are a number of photographs that are housed with project files so as to maintain the original order of the collection.

  • Series VI: Slide Library (23 boxes, unprocessed)

    This series consists of binders of slides housed in glassine slips. This series contains documentation of early SITE projects which are not present in Series I: Project Files, and include images of the BEST storefronts from the 1970s.

Using the Collection

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

Preferred Citation

James Wines papers and SITE architectural records, 1970-2017, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by James Wines in 2019 (accession 2019.011).

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Elena M'Bouroukounda, Graduate Intern, under the supervision of Shelley Hayreh, Archivist & Collection Manager, in 2022.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Architectural drawings -- American Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Architectural firms -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Environmental aspects Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Exhibitions Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- Study and teaching Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture, Postmodern Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

James Wines (1932–) is an artist, architect and professor of urbanism and architecture. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1956 and pursued a career in sculpture and graphic design in New York. Early in his career, Wines became a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. James Wines is best known for his interdisciplinary art and architectural practice S.I.T.E. (Sculpture In The Environment), which he co-founded in 1970 with Alison Sky, E. Sousa and M. Stone.

Since its conception, S.I.T.E.'s work has engaged the interdisciplinary of architectural practice as cultural critique. During the 1970s, the firm challenged distinctions between art/architecture and landscape/building, among other dichotomies and engaged directly with legacies of American consumerism. A series of storefronts for BEST Product Company.Inc, including the Tilt Building (Towson, Maryland – 1976), Inside/Outside Building, (Milwaukee, Wisconsin – 1984) and the Forest Building (Richmond, Virginia – 1979), as well as installation works such as the "Ghost Parking Lot" (1978) are some of the most publicized works from this era. SITE's repertoire of theoretical projects, such as the Highrise of Homes (1981), had built Wines' reputation as an architectural renderer.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a growing preoccupation with environmental issues, information technologies and ecology characterized the SITE's work. During this period, S.I.T.E.'s designed and built public spaces, parks and urban landscapes across the globe. The firm also designed numerous exhibitions including, among others, pavilions for the Seville Expo in 1992, the Taejon Expo in 1993, and the Hannover Expo in 2000. In addition to public works, SITE also worked on many commercial projects and product designs during this period. Prototype designs for restaurant franchises such as Olive Garden (1994), Chilis (1996), Carrabba's (1997), and Costa Coffee (2007) reference SITE's early preoccupation with consumerism and likewise demonstrate the application of the firm's environmental principles across types and scales of architectural projects.

In addition to his role as co-founder and principle of S.I.T.E. Wines has had a prolific career as a lecturer and academic. Wines has held professorships at New York University Department of Art and Arts Professions as well as teaching positions at Dartmouth College, the University of Wisconsin, New Jersey School of Architecture, and Cooper Union Design Center. From 1984 to 1990, Wines was chair of the Environmental Design Department at Parsons School of Design. Since 1999, Wines has been a Professor Emeritus at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught and lectured at the School of Urbanism and Planning.

The work of SITE has been published in numerous architectural and arts publications. James Wines has also published a number of books about his theoretical approach to architecture, including De Architecture (1987) and Green Architecture (1999).